About us

The BUSCOB is an academic biobank runned by the "Agroenvironmental Microbiology unit" (former Istituto di Microbiologia Agraria e Tecnica) belonging to the Department of Agricultural Sciences, Bologna University.

BUSCOB contains about 10000 bacterial strains, of which 9000 belong to Bifidobacteriaceae family (mainly to Bifidobacterium genus). The remaining 1000 strains refer to Lactobacillus genus and a miscellaneous of different strains derived from public and private collections. BUSCOB is an important resource for the international community for ecological and applied (probiotics) studies.
The Microbial Collection was founded about the mid-sixty by Prof. Vittorio Scardovi (1918-1995) who is one of the pioneers in the study of bifidobacteria. From 2002 until today seven new genera (Aeriscardovia, Alloscardovia, Bombiscardovia, Metascardovia, Neoscardovia, Parascardovia and Scardovia) and a new species Bifidobacterium scardovii were named to honor Vittorio Scardovi. This is the largest number of names ever dedicated to a single scientist, a sign of the recognition of his great contribution in this field. This collection underwent significant development and expansion for the bifidobacteria. As it is the case for many working collections, it was born almost spontaneously with the primary task of conserving the innumerable cultures isolated from different ecological habitat: body environment, such as human, animal and insects, and extrabody environments, such as sewage, fermented milk and digestors. About 3000 bifidobacterial strains have been identified at species level by classique and molecular techniques; the remaining 6000 strains have been identified on the basis of positive activity of fructose-6-phosphate posphoketolase (the taxonomic key enzyme of Bifidobacteriaceae family).

The core of the collection was arranged between 1965 and 1985 (about 7000 strains). Recently other 2000 bifidobacteria strains isolated from different habitat (also primates) have been added. Strains were conserved as freeze dried cultures at room temperature with a renewal frequency of 15-20 years. The list of strains belonging to the BUSCOB is now available in electronic form.


Our current priorities are the implementation and updating of the BUSCOB collection maintaining these principal points:

  • isolating microorganisms, mainly bifidobacteria but also lactobacilli
  • characterizing the microorganisms using specific techniques
  • maintaining microorganisms (growing them and storing them, studying their genetic stability)
  • legislation affecting the use of microorganisms
  • safe handling and use of microorganisms